Embodiment and materiality

In reading the scholarly literature on social systems theory, I sometimes come across the claim that for Luhmann psychic systems means the mind–and that this mind is incorporeal. The person this claims that Luhmann fell back on the old body/mind duality, according to which there is a mind distinct from the physical body. But these claims are simply false. The psychic system is conscious awareness; it is the body’s awareness of itself. The psychic system consists of whatever the body can perceive via its five senses and its “sixth sense, proprioception (perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body). Thus all sentient beings, not just humans, have a psychic system. A better term that psychic system might be sensorium–the sensory apparatus or faculties considered as a whole.

Problems with spatial mapping

The nation, or the nation-state, has been the privileged unit of modernity, but has never ruled out entirely other units of mapping cultures – from the “tribal” units of anthropology to the civilizational units of high cultures. These mappings establish boundaries that are thought to express something about what they contain – more often than not a political unit that derives its identity from particular social and cultural practices, the one not clearly distinguished from the other.

1 2 3 4 14